Perennials and Hardy Annuals I’ve Successfully Winter-Sowed

February 15, 2015
IMG_9473Happy day-after-Valentine's Day, everyone! The Hudson Valley looks and feels like Narnia right now, with snow, blowing snow, and wind-chill temperatures in the dangerous digits (-10°F to -20°F). Can you blame me for wanting to write Read more »

Perennials Which Require Cold Stratification

February 15, 2013
IMG_0647SPRING IS COMING, FOLKS! Consequently, if you haven't winter-sown your flowering perennials yet, you really need to get hopping. For certain seeds (like the cranesbill geranium 'Rozanne,' above) require alternating freezes and thaws, or "stratification" in order to germinate well. Here is a list of common perennials which need this yin and yang treatment: Read more »

Winter-Sowing 101

November 14, 2012
img_2339BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I start my summer garden in December and January, using a neat trick called “Winter-Sowing.” Winter-sowing is an outdoor method of seed germination (invented by Trudi Davidoff) which requires just two things: miniature greenhouses (made from recycled milk jugs) and Mother Nature. You can winter-sow your way to a beautiful garden, too...for pennies. Read more »

August Perfume: Clethra alnifolia

August 8, 2012
IMG_8251I WISH YOU COULD VISIT ME IN AUGUST, for this is when Clethra alnifolia 'Pink Spires' is in bloom. What a romantic plant! Butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects are drawn to the sweet nectar of the shrub's fluffy, candle-like flowers. The flowers offer a strong, but never-cloying scent that recalls honeysuckle, rose, clove, and heliotrope. You'll find this North American native is extremely easy to grow: Read more »

Plant Propagation: Layering

May 6, 2012
Plant Propagation: LayeringLAYERING IS PROBABLY THE EASIEST -- and surprisingly, the least known -- method of plant propagation. I've used this technique to increase the weigela (above), forsythia, rhododendron, and other shrubs which bring beauty to my garden. With layering, the stem you wish to propagate remains attached to the parent plant. Consequently it receives nourishment until it grows its own set of roots. I'm layering my beloved flowering quince 'Cameo' today. Would you like to see the fun procedure? Read more »

Dividing Hostas

May 1, 2012
IMG_3250MY GARDENS START WITH A DREAM, NOT A PRICE-TAG. Take, for instance, the exuberant hosta-walk in my Woodland Garden. The walk, 50 feet in length, and pleasantly curved, features a lush edging of choice hostas -- at least 70 plants. How much did this project cost me? Very little, in fact. You see, from one purchased hosta, many can be obtained. Here's how: Read more »

Boxwood Beauty the Easy Way

April 8, 2012
IMG_0256BIs there a more elegant shrub than boxwood (Buxus)? I don't think so. Evergreen and tolerant of all kinds of "shape-shifting," it is the ideal plant to edge a pathway, or to frame a garden bed or border. Despite its beauty this box, however, has one major drawback: it is very expensive. But you can have a sophisticated boxwood hedge without breaking the bank. My own ribbons of enduring green, pictured above, are living proof of this fact. Read more »